RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1916 Pennsylvania Railroad Guide

Pittsburgh to Crestline

Upon leaving Pennsylvania Station, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania trains to Chicago via the Fort Wayne Route, which is the route of the "Broadway Limited," "Pennsylvania Limited," and "Manhattan Limited," turn directly across the Allegheny River into and through the city of Allegheny. The prospects from the bridge, particularly during the night hours, of the enormous steel plants lining both sides of the river for several miles, their chimneys and converters belching great fans of flame, is almost awe-inspiring.

The tracks are elevated through Allegheny, except across one of the city parks, where a subway is utilized. As one passes Federal Street station, the Soldiers' Monument, a fine specimen of memorial art, may be seen surmounting a hill on the left-hand side of the railroad going west. The railroad traverses the city for some distance until it curves around to the shelving banks of the Ohio River, just on the northern border of the city. Thence, for a distance of about twenty-five miles, the great four track roadway follows the Ohio's east bank to the point where the Beaver River flows into it from the north.

Sewickley, twelve and a half miles north of Pittsburgh, built on the hills that sweep back from the river, is the residence town of many of Pittsburgh's leading business men. Economy, just beyond Ambridge, is noted from the fact that it was founded in 1825 by members of the Society of Harmonists, or Economites, a religious socialistic community founded in 1787 by George Rapp in Wurtemburg, Germany, who came thither about 1810 to escape persecution.

Rochester, with a population of 6,120, marks the mouth of the Beaver River, which flows into the Ohio at this point from the north. The Ohio itself turns toward the west beyond Rochester, forming the top of a huge horse shoe. Rochester is a busy town, utilizing its fine water power in the production of flour, bricks, lumber, glassware, foundry materials, mining tools, manufactured iron, and oil-well supplies. Near it was the site of the early settlement of Logstown, established during the French and Indian War.

Leaving the Ohio Valley at Rochester the railroad continues up the east bank of the Beaver River to New Brighton, settled in 1799, and in the early days the eastern terminus of the Ohio packet-boat system on the rivers and canals. New Brighton to-day is a prosperous city of 9,000 population, engaged in the production of fine pottery, coffee mills, wire and nails, bricks and sewer pipes, twine, cordage, bath tubs and fire engines.

The Beaver River is crossed just beyond New Brighton Station, the railroad turning north along the west bank of the river, which rises in precipitous cliffs almost from the water's edge.

Beaver Falls, with a population of about 13,050, was one, of the early settlements in Western Pennsylvania, a few pioneers locating there about 1800. To-day, Beaver Falls is a progressive town, with steel works, bridge works, and plants manufacturing gas engines, hardware and glassware. Leaving Beaver Falls the railroad rapidly ascends the steep bank of the Beaver to Homewood, a little settlement four miles north, the junction point with the line to Cleveland via Youngstown, to Erie, and to Oil City via New Castle.

Beyond Homewood the line passes through the hills enclosing the valley of the Little Beaver River, traversing a picturesque farm-land section. Just beyond the little town of Enon, the State line between Pennsylvania and Ohio is crossed, and the railroad surmounts the water shed between the Ohio and the Great Lakes through a fine section of pottery clays.

Salem, a busy city of 12,000 inhabitants, with machine shops, engine works, church organ, wire nail, pump manufactories and other industries, and Sebring, a noted example of a "company town" in which is located a large pottery, are centers in this section.

Alliance is the junction point with the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Division, which digresses from the main line at Rochester. There is also a branch line running to Youngstown.

Alliance was first settled in 1838, then being known as Freedom, which name it bore until 1850. It is a busy town of 18,500 inhabitants, who are engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements, terra cotta ware, heavy machinery, structural iron, gun carriages, steam hammers and white lead products. Mt. Union College, a Methodist Episcopal institution, founded in 1846, is located here.

Canton, eighteen miles west of Alliance, is noted as the home and burial place of the martyred president, William McKinley. The monument erected to commemorate his life and achievements may be seen from the train just after leaving the station going west. Canton's 60,000 inhabitants are largely engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements, brick and tiles, as well as in the manufacture of stoves and other iron and steel products.

Massillon, first settled in 1825, has of late years become important as the center of the extensive coal fields opened in the valley of the Tuscarawas River. Its workshops produce iron and steel, including the manufacture of bridges, pottery, glass and flour. The Ohio State Hospital for the Insane is located at Massillon.

Beyond Massillon the line curves to the northward across the Ohio Canal, which bisects the State from Cleveland to Portsmouth on the Ohio River, and then follows for a number of miles the charming valley of the Tuscarawas, crossing and recrossing the little stream many times. Between Lawrence and Burton City there is an extensive territory of the famous Ohio black mud. Here is located one of the greatest onion growing belts in the country.

Orrville is the junction point with the Akron Division, running between Columbus and Cleveland.

Fort Fizzle, near Glenmont station on the Akron Division, is a relic of the "Knights of the Golden Circle," a body of northern men in sympathy with the Southern Confederacy, who in 1863, built this stronghold, intending to strike a blow at the Middle West when Lee had overcome Philadelphia. They were overthrown in June, 1863.

Akron, twenty-nine miles north of Orrville on the Akron Division, is a progressive city of approximately 100,000 population, and the seat of several of the largest rubber manufactories of the country. It is especially noted for its production of automobile tires. At Barberton, the southern suburb of Akron, is located the largest match works in the world. Wooster, with a population of 8,500, is noted as the home of Wooster University, one of Ohio's leading educational institutions. On the hill just west of the town, the Ohio Experimental Station, devoted to scientific farming and agricultural development, stands in full view of trains. The city has a number of manufactories, including furniture, door, sash and blind shops; boilers, engines and gearing works; flour mills and brick works.

The country west of Wooster is very low, that around Big Prairie being the first of the great open stretches of land for which Indiana and Illinois are famed.

Mansfield, with a population of 22,417, is the center of a thriving agricultural section, and the energies of its people are devoted to the manufacture and sale of agricultural implements of all sorts-pumps, wagons, and steel soil pipe-as well as to the production of electrical goods and brass foundering. The Ohio State Reformatory is located at Mansfield.

Six and a half miles west of Mansfield, the Toledo Division leaves the mainline and runs northwestward.

Crestline, which the Pennsylvania skirts through its southern end, is a quiet town lying on the western border of the Ohio hills, marking the western terminus of the Eastern Division.